People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVI

No. 42

October 21, 2012

 

Women Hold a Large Rally

Protesting a Spate of Rapes in Haryana

 

SEVERAL activists comprising both women and men were injured in a police lathicharge on October 15 when they were moving in a procession to the district collectorís office after holding a large protest rally organised by many womenís organisations against a spate of rapes in Haryana. Those injured included AIDWA national vice president Jagmati Sangwan and several other persons. Brinda Karat, ex MP Rajya Sabha, strongly condemned the lathicharge without any provocation and she demanded strict action against the police officers responsible for this brutal attack on the peaceful protest.

 

Around two thousand people, largely women, gathered in Rohtak to protest the callous attitude of the Hooda government in its response to the 15 rapes, mostly gang rapes of dalit women and minors. The women had also gathered to protest the extremely offensive anti-women statements that followed the rapes, from the Congress state president, the INLD leader Chautala and the unconstitutional solution provided by the khap panchayats.

 

Led by senior leaders of women's organisations including Brinda Karat, families of victims, young students and rural women from various districts along with more than 25 women's organisations participating from across the country gathered first at the HUDA Complex where there was a public meeting. They then marched in a rally to meet the district collector Vikas who instead of meeting them barricaded the road with more than five to six hundred policemen, who lathi charged the peaceful protest. The women after a long drawn out tussle with the police sat down when the SDM came. Every body demanded that the chief minister must give time to the women's groups and he should fix the appointment immediately. The SDM refused to comply, or even let Brinda to talk over the phone with the CM.

 

Speaking at the public meeting, Brinda Karat condemned the Hooda government for failing to first provide security to women, then the police and administration who even refused to lodge FIRs or arrest the accused. She said that this meeting was not only to break the silence of the government but also to tell all that till the rape survivors got justice the campaign would continue. She also took on the Khaps and INLD leader Chautala and said that how could they even think of suggesting a solution of decreasing the age of marriage which is against the law. Is legitimising rape within marriage a solution, she asked? She also said that education and freedom from fear was the right of every girl and said we all demand that womenís rights are not curtailed any more.

 

Ranjana Kumari of Centre for Social Research, Sudha Sundararaman of AIDWA, Gargi of NFIW, Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad, Jyotsna Chaterjee of Joint Women's Programme, Kavita Srivastava of PUCL, Leila Passah of YWCA all joined in the condemnation of the government and pledged that till justice was delivered to the victims and safety ensured for women they would not give up on the struggle. Jagmati Sangwan, vice president, AIDWA who has been spearheading the struggle in Haryana placed the resolution against violence on women which was passed unanimously.

 

Relatives of four victims from Dabra, Hisar, Jind, Gurgaon and Mewat also spoke out and said that they would not give up their struggle for justice.

 

The chief minister's office finally talked to Brinda Karat after fours hours of protest and said that the CM would meet a women's delegation on October 17 in Chandigarh. With loud singing and slogans, the women ended the sit-in outside the DCís office in Rohtak.

 

A joint memorandum addressed to the chief minister was submitted to the DC.